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Miss NC 2018 crowned amid changes for Miss America organization

The 2018 Miss North Carolina competition wrapped up Saturday night at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

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Kasey Cunningham
, WRAL reporter & Hannah Webster, WRAL.com editor
RALEIGH, N.C. — The 2018 Miss North Carolina competition wrapped up Saturday night at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

Miss Metrolina Laura Matrazzo was crowned Miss North Carolina 2018.

It's been a busy year for Miss North Carolina 2017 Victoria Huggins - a busy year filled with appearances, activism and changes.

"I think a vacation is in my future after 300 appearances," she said. "We have totally re-branded from a pageant to a competition."

With the re-brand has come changes within the competition's structure.

In June, the organization announced it will no longer have the swimsuit portion of the competition, and it is diversifying the evening gown portion.

Huggins said she was disappointed to hear the swimsuit competition will be canceled.

Miss NC: 'Sad' to see swimsuit part of Miss America pageant removed

"Personally, I was really sad because that was a fear I had to overcome," she said. "I did not know how I was going to compete in swimsuit because I always grew up so conservative, but this was part of the job requirement that I wanted, so I achieved that goal."

Saturday night Barry Stallings attended the 2018 Miss North Carolina competition to watch his daughter, Miss Greensboro Karen Stallings, compete.

He said he supports the changes and removal of the swimsuit competition.

"I think what Gretchen Carlson and those folks (are) looking for is the integrity and the mind of a woman versus the body, which I can really appreciate, I really can."

Some people attending the competition agreed.

"I think it's actually a good idea to do that that so that woman can show their side if they wear wanna wear pants or whatever," Varice Love said.

But the swimsuit portion is a favorite for other longtime fans.

"Actually I love looking at the swimsuit competition, so I'm a little disappointed, but I guess we'll get over it," one attendee said.

Despite the buzz over changes, Huggins said at the end of the day, that's not what the competition is about.

"It really isn't about us, it's about what we can give," she said.

Huggins said too many people forget Miss America is a scholarship organization.

She's won $30,000 in scholarships as she works to complete her Master's degree from Johns Hopkins University.

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